The October On-the-Ground question was:
The childfree are often asked “Who will be there for you when you are old if you have no children?” What is your answer? How do you envision your support system in your later years?
Here’s a summary of what you said:
That is something that actually does worry me, but not because I don’t have any children but because I have no friends and other relatives but my husband. I don’t think I would expect my children to take care of me when I’m old anyway.
Artemis, You are not alone re worrying about this…like lots of folks who wrote in though, there are ways to try and plan for it, even if it will be only you and your husband. Those who say you can’t predict the future are indeed right, but that does not mean we can’t do some research and attempt to plan for it in any case, especially if it gives us some potential peace of mind if we are worried about it….just my two cents!~L
What kind of planing are you thinking about here? If you mean homes for the elderly it doesn’t look very good for me here in Sweden, there are no private options as far as I know… And every now and then you hear some news about how terribly the elders are being treated. It’s really scary!
I guess I could plan on moving to another country for my elder days. If I manage to save a lot of money… I have health problems so I can’t work so many hours but I don’t shop so much AND I don’t have kids =) so I guess I can be somewhat hopefull =)
All I am saying is that some people I hear from try to plan, given where they live, their preferences, etc. I am surprised that ou hear news re Sweden treating elders badly–Sweden and Denmark at least from what I know are much better than the states! Your point about financial prudence plus no kids resonates also with a lot of childfree…
Yes, I’m actually surprised myself, I moved to Sweden some years ago and it has become worse for every year. Maybe it’s even worse in other countrys, I don’t really know. The “problem” with Sweden is that there are no private options (not unless you have money enough to build your own hospital) so I can’t say: “here is a nice elderly home, I will save money and apply to be here when I’m old”, you don’t get to choose. There has been news about people who have been seperated from their spouse because “there was no room for both of them at the same place”.
How is it in the states? How much to you get to deside? It would be very intresting to know if you have time to write about it.
This is actually an important issue for all people, childed or not. I think people who think their children will take care of them when they are old have a false sense of security. Childfree on the other hand seem to be very consious about having to plan and everything.
I hope it’s ok I’m commenting so much… It’s just happens to be so that I have thought a lot about the subject recently and feel it’s nice to talk about it with someone, even so on the internet =)
Artemis, Write as much and as often as you like! Readers out there from the U.S.–what can you tell her about elderlly home options here? In a nutshell, what I know is that there are public and private options. Government funded “homes” are generally not where people want to go….There are lots of senior communities, assisted living communities, and nursing homes. BUT you have to be able to afford it and for many that is a real challenge. ~L
I think the childfree are probably more prepared for our elder years than parents, because we know we will have to be independent and self-reliant. This is an advantage to us because many elderly parents find that their adult children move far away, or are simply too busy (or just don’t care) to spend time with them. They may not have had the foresight to plan ahead and do things on their own. Retirement homes are full of parents, some who don’t get many visits from their children. I think a network of friends, (surely there will be many other childfree seniors to connect with), is more important than counting on adult children. Also, not having kids allows us to save away alot more money!
There is no guarantee that any kids that you have would actually look after you when you are old. They might just shunt you into a old folks home and visit once a year. Having kids is no guard against lonliness later in life. I know plently of elderly people who are lonely and have several children. I have an aunt who is childfree by choice. She is in her late eighties. Her husband passed away a few years ago and I asked her if she ever regreted not having kids and if she was lonely. Her response was something to the effect of:
“For heavens sakes child, I loved my husband, and I do miss him….but all those years that we weren’t raising children we were active and had hobbies and made friends and had a life. I have lots of friends of many ages because I make efforts to create human connections. I have plenty of things and to keep me busy until I die, and I have plently of money because I planned well. I don’t regret a single day, nor do I regret not having children. All my friends who had kids are now busy looking after their grandkids while I am free to do whatever I want. I made the right choice dear,….I made the right choice…”
My great-aunt is a wise woman. You make choices in life and you enjoy the ride. The road never travelled is moot. Enjoy the road that you are on and make the most of it…my aunt did, and she is not lonely.
Boy can I use your great-aunt’s quote in a piece about regret (the lack of that is) sometime?? Love it…! ~L